Digital currency and mobile money can change the way we do business


  • Digital Financial Services Workshop

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Roadshow continued today with the hosting of a Digital Financial Services Workshop focusing on the benefits and challenges of using cryptocurrencies and mobile money.

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses encryption for security. Supporters of cryptocurrencies said they are difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature.

Co-Founder of BITT, Barbados, Oliver Gale during his presentation said the notion that the use of these virtual currencies poses threats associated with money laundering is far-fetched.

According to him, digital media now offers more opportunities for the sources of information to be tracked. He focused attention on how the use of virtual dollars can revolutionise the way business is done in the Caribbean, urging buy-in by central banks.

“It can be transferred across borders instantly, it can be stored at low cost, it can be created at low cost, so what we are doing, is taking this technology working with central banks creating this digital currency that is controlled by the central bank … what this allows for is a mobile money eco-system,” Gale noted.

Head of Legal and Regulatory Risk, Financial Services of Digicel, Diana Sirila said among many other advantages, studies have shown that it is 20 percent lower to make digital payments or to use mobile money.

She pointed out that “there is an added security when you do digital payments and mobile payments as opposed to cash…when you are walking around with a bundle of cash, when you have that digitised in your mobile wallet, it makes a big difference.”

Both presenters said a major challenge to using mobile money and cryptocurrencies is that of over-regulation.

They believe that for the Caribbean to move fully into the 21st-century policymakers must begin the conversation on the benefits of these new technologies.

The CTU Roadshow hits Annai, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) tomorrow for a special ICT seminar at the Bina Hill Institute.

By: Stacy Carmichael.

Images: Jules Gibson.